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It appears that yet another popular website will be closing its doors forever due to "business issues." Gamespy.com has just announced that it will be shutting down its website along with all of its PC gaming servers, effective May 31st. Gamespy has been a staple in the PC gaming community since 1999, and it appears that it will not make it past 14 years old.
"Just to be clear, we're not being shut down because PC gaming isn't a big, important, and growing thing -- because it is. That's not even debatable. It's not even because the GameSpy staff did a bad job of talking about it. Hell, from where I'm sitting we did an awesome job," said GameSpy's Dan Stapleton. "Why is this closure happening, then? It's a business thing, and like most business things it's not easy to explain or understand unless you spend all day crunching numbers and paying bills. Which I don't. So here's the simple version that even I can comprehend: Ziff Davis wants to run an efficient, focused company, and managing several different sites that all cover videogames isn't exactly the model of efficiency. "
Stapleton went on to say that the GameSpy staff will go on to write for other gaming media outlets such as IGN, and that they will continue to bring readers what they need to know about the current state of gaming. It's a sad day to see a staple like GameSpy fall, but such is the way of many sites that have been acquired by Ziff Davis over the years, and I am sure that this will not be the last to shutter its windows.
Video game streaming service, Twitch.TV has just added a new feature to its website today. Users can now enable private chat rooms that are accessible by invite only, which cuts down on the trolls who do what trolls do best. While Twitch already allows users to chat with broadcasters, this new group chat feature lets the broadcaster pick and chose who they wish to allow in their coatroom at any given time.
"One of the most beloved features on Twitch is the ability to chat with the broadcasters and your fellow gamers. In many ways, it's what makes Twitch, Twitch. It's where community memes begin," Twitch said in a blog post. "Where you express your glee, outrage, befuddlement, or amusement, as the case may be. Twitch is a social place, and chat is where the social exchange happens."
Facebook has devised ways to deliver internet to many parts of the world- using drones, satellites and even lasers. After announcing internet.org last year, Mark Zuckerberg hired a team of scientists for the purpose to improve internet access across the world.
The social networking company hired scientists who worked in organizations such as NASA, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Ascenta which developed solar powered drones.
Facebook isn't the only one to provide internet access in remote areas. Google started 'Project Link' in November 2013 which aims to provide fiber network for developing nations. It also announced its project codenamed 'Project Loon' which will use hot air balloons to provide internet access.
Despite Turkey's attempt to ban social networking site Twitter, the government is now "fighting a losing battle," experts claim, with Turkish citizens using virtual private networks (VPNs), text messaging and Tor to continue tweeting.
Although Twitter hasn't publicly issued a response - following the Turkish government trying to have government corruption tweets and links deleted - Twitter's decision to post a guide on how to post tweets via SMS provides an initial insight into the company's stance on the matter.
Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek isn't overly impressed with the ban:
"The Turkish telecommunications watchdog has made a number of statements saying that they have asked Twitter on a number of occasions to remove some content on the back of court orders and Twitter has been refusing to comply. I don't think any global company, whether it's a media company, whether it's an industrial company, it shouldn't see itself [as being] above the law."
Project management is one of the most important aspects of today's fast-paced tech world, and one of the biggest applications that makes this task easy has recently been hit with a massive DDoS attack followed by an attempt to blackmail the company into paying for the attack to stop. Basecamp is used daily by hundreds of thousands of developers world wide to keep track of their project's task, goals, and more, but Basecamp says that it will not succumb to extortion and blackmail.
Shortly after the attack began, Basecamp received a offer to end the attack in exchange for a monetary payment, but the company denied, and recovered from the attack on its own. The company has reasons to believe that the attack was organized by the same people who attacked Fotolia in a similar manner last week, and are working with officials to sort things out.
One of Google's favorite hobbies is killing off services that the company no longer wishes to support. Last year we saw this happen when Google grew tired of supporting its Reader service, and this year it looks like one of its older services will be led to the chopping block. Several reports have popped up today that suggest that Google is looking to retire its Voice service and integrate some of its key features into Hangouts.
Google launched Voice back in 2009 when it decided to rebrand the aging GrandCentral internet calling service. One of the best features about Google Voice was the ability to have a second phone number that would ring straight through your Gmail account or your Android Device. Additionally many users loved the way Google Voice handled voice mails and many switched their Android devices over to Google Voice just for this voice mail feature. Unfortunately this feature for far fewer users than it glitched out for, and now it appears that Google will be putting an end to the service in an effort to further unify its Google+ and Google Hangouts services.
Google has just finished rolling out its new online marketplace for third-party applications designed to enhance Google Drive. Google says that the marketplace is available from within Google Docs and Sheets, and can easily be accessed by clicking on the add-on tab at the top of a documents page. There have been chrome extensions that integrate into Docs before, but this is the first time that Google has released an official marketplace for apps that directly integrate.
Called Add-On's the apps are created by third-party developers and enhance the service by adding handy features such as the ability to sign documents, create custom templates, add images with annotations, and quickly generate macros for spreadsheets. Other apps allow users to quickly and easily cite sources, write footnotes, and build bibliographies by simply searching the web for the desired sources.
Back in the mid to late 90's, the search engine we know as Google began as a research project between Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University, and as with any website that is a product of the end of the 90's some aspects of the original design have remained. With Google search, one last fall back to days past has remained on the site since its inception.
Back in the day web developers use to set all hotlinks to display as underlined in an effort to make the links more visible to a not so computer savvy generation that was just beginning to use the web. The links in Google's search results were all underlined back then and while this trend died off in the mid 2000's, Google kept its links underlined. Today Google decided to remove those underlines as well as increasing the size of result titles.
"We've increased the size of result titles, removed the underlines, and evened out all the line heights," says Google lead designer Jon Wiley. "This improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look." With these changes also comes new ad labels , and a more modern and well refined search results page. Perhaps one of the best decisions Google made was to no move forward with banner ads in search results, something it had been testing for a few months.
Earlier this year rumors of an Amazon Prime price increase began appearing everywhere, and today it appears that those rumors were true. Today Amazon announced that it will be raising its annual subscription fee by $20 from $79 per year to $99 per year for regular members. Student memberships also increase from $39 per year to $49 per year.
For those who's Prime membership renews before April 17th, your next year of Amazon Prime will cost $79, but all new accounts will remain at the $99 fee. Anyone renewing their membership after April 17th will also have to pay the $99 fee. There is a one time workaround though. Slickdeals.net is reporting that if you purchase an Amazon Prime Gift Membership and have it sent to you just as your current membership expires, you will also get the $79 price for the next year.
For a few years now, Google has included reviews of local businesses in its search results and now Yahoo is following suit. Today Yahoo announced that it has integrated Yelp ratings into users search results. The integration includes images, ratings, reviews, but comments appear to be left out.
The integration of Yelp will allow users to locate eateries, find out when they are open, what their menu consist of, and how they stack up against the competition all-in-one convenient place. Even though many internet users still default to Google, Yahoo's search engine still ranks number three with Microsoft's Bing coming in at second place. This new integration just may convince me to use Yahoo when searching for places to eat on a Friday or Saturday night.